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Kiwis Keen On Structured Exercise, Excited About Covid Change

The half a million Kiwis who regularly use the New Zealand exercise industry will welcome the removal on mandates, and they are looking forward to everyone returning to gyms and facilities around the country, ExerciseNZ chief executive Richard Beddie says.

The government yesterday said it would remove capacity limits for all outdoor events and increase indoor capacity limits for the likes of bars, restaurants and gyms from 100 to 200, from midnight Friday and remove the vaccine mandates from midnight April 4.

Beddie says around five percent of members had needed to be put on hold due to government rules not allowing them to exercise indoors due to not being fully vaccinated.

“Exercise facilities such as gym have been hard hit through misinformation and what has proven wrong about so-called high-risk activities by people such as Otago professor Michael Baker. We all have our views, but I would love to have a public debate with him. What he claims just isn’t backed up by ether the science, nor from anecdotal evidence from New Zealand.

“His concerns have been largely nullified, and like many businesses, exercise facilities look forward to a return to an inclusive society; as has recently been the case in many other countries such as the UK and France.

“The vaccine mandate passes have had their time and they were useful in encouraging vaccination, but they have now passed their usefulness which the government now agrees with.”

“We expect that the vast majority of gyms and exercise facilities in New Zealand will quickly return to an inclusive model and are looking forward to offering the benefits of exercise to all Kiwis.

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“There may be a few special cases such as an exercise facility in an aged care facility, but otherwise all we expect gyms to open their doors to everyone from April 5.

“Also, there is a greater awareness of the benefits of exercise, now more than ever. There is a big focus right now on mental wellness and activity really helps with anxiety.

“The protective benefits of exercise as it relates to strengthening the immune system will be great for so many New Zealanders as we move into a new covid phase.

“The World Health Organisation recommends adults do at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or a minimum of 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week.

“Many Kiwis have had to reduce much of their regular structured activity because of the omicron restrictions.”

Beddie is recognised in the fitness industry as a global expert in exercise and physical activity.

He has a background in governance of global bodies including being chairman of the International Confederation of Register for Exercise Professionals for four years and nine years with Skills Active Aotearoa, New Zealand’s standard setter for education and training in sport fitness and recreation.

He set up the world’s first collaborative network for registered exercise professionals globally and has worked with other countries to facilitate portability for New Zealand-trained exercise professionals to travel and work overseas.

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